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Ever play Charades, Taboo, or Pictionary? Those are all games where creativity is paramount to success. “Primtionary” is a game similar to Pictionary but played with prims in Second Life; the event we were fostered to join in our weekly in-world meeting was run by Rowan Thursday in Asim Zahra (http://slurl.com/secondlife/Asim+Zahra/185/179/27) Instead of people acting out and giving clues or drawing, they create the clues by creating 3D objects.
How it works
The event proceeds as follows:
- One person, standing on the stage, picks a level of difficulty (from easy to impossible) and is given by the host a word which he/she must try to build using basic prims;
- That person then builds something that will give the rest of the audience cues;
- The audience then attempts to guess the word and type guesses into the chat bar;
- The first person to type in the correct answer wins and has the opportunity to be the next builder.
The rules of the game
- The game consists of one player/builder building visual clues of a word to be guessed by an audience.
- The player/builder tells the host what level they are building. (Building Levels are: Easy, Medium, Hard, Evil, Impossible)
- The host will give the player/builder a word to build in Instant Messenger so the word will not be seen by the audience.
- The first person in the audience to guess the correct word wins that round and 25 Lindens.
- The winner is entitled to build on the next round.
- If player/builder is stuck they may IM the host for help or have the host give some clues going to the audience.
- Building letters is not allowed. But a letter can be used if the letter is not in the word.
- Custom textures, colors for prims are allowed unless it is a part of the word.
- Items from inventory cannot be used.
- Use the green CC shaped prims to mean SOUNDS LIKE.
- Use + between objects to break down the word into syllables.
- Use a green arrow to point at what you want the audience to see or say.
- No scripts or sculpties are to be used in the build.
- Each word is must be completed before the clock runs out.
How it feelsWhen the primtionary site is idle, the atmosphere has all the characteristics of a medieval outdoor theatre with a half-a-dome-shaped cement/stone seats and a stage where artists and authors like Shakespeare and Beethoven put on their plays and symphonies. Once the action starts and the ‘building process’ begins, the stage is transformed into your modern drive-through movie theatre with big screens, lights, cameras and serving some good juicy burger and fries.
The primtionary setup allows for the audience to see and participate in the building process. The guessing process can be overshadowing to newcomers, especially when the responses are dominated by the regular members and those familiar with the participation process.
What instructional activities might be done there?For those in a language teaching/learning and intercultural communication field it would be great to organize a game like Primtionary for the following reasons:
- linguistic/didactical reasons: e.g. the game as a tool to enhance language vocabulary, writing skills;
- intercultural reasons: explore the cultural differences through the connections made by students with various backgrounds between “words” and their “representation” through “objects/prims”.
- In general it would be fruitful for social reasons: games like that can improve cohesion in the class group and represent the chance to use that game to open a class activity to a wider audience, that is, students of different classes and schools could interact in a sort of competition.
What could be modified to make it more comfortable or usable?Tailoring the game to unique topics or to learner abilities could improve the game. Those new to SL will be likely to be intimidated to participate because of the appearance of complexity the game presents. Lacking building skills could make some feel very afraid to participate. Some of the builds require that the participants already have advanced camera skills so that they can see what is being built.
Personal Reflections:Mike wrote:
The more time I spend on in Second Life the more I get hooked. This was no different, I love mind games, I love a good challenge. That was actually fun to do with further exploration all of Yummie's creations there are fun, a giant Connect 4, Suduko, and Battleship were right behind the stage. The details of the environment really make it easier to become so intrigued. I had logged in over the weekend and "brushed" up on my building skills, once I realized the one who guessed the correct answer had to build, I froze. My building skills were nothing like what I saw, the quick shape of objects and mass production of them was amazing. However for novice builders, activities like that are fun. It is like playing charades or pictionary. I did expect us to be building not playing a game, it was fun. I had a challenge, got to play a game, and learned more tools from Second Life.
At first the environment seems overwhelming. However the participants make you feel welcomed to participate. The more people shouting answers the more fun the game becomes. The collaboration of the different ideas made me think of different words. I personally thought some people who won were only there because they spring boarded off someone else's idea or was able to just spell the words correctly.
When I arrived on Asim Zahra island I was a bit disoriented and was not sure where to go for the event. As I spun my avatar around I saw a message that said to follow the footprints, which were imprinted on the ground. I still was not sure this was the place I was intended to be. Several of my class peers had arrived and I looked at my class peers for direction. During this, some type of text script named "Zort" addressed me by name and asked if I needed help and to respond "Yes" or "No." I had no clue what this Zort script was about, so I responded "No." Then curiousity took over and since this was a learning event, I thought what the heck, let's go for it. So I followed the green footprints and they led me to some steps. I was amused at the "Caution - Addictive Primitonary Ahead" sign. I went up the steps to find that I was in the back of a stadium or some type of arena. It appeared that the event was already in progress. I looked around the bleachers to see if any of my class members were already seated. Comfortable with the thought that I would not be in anyone's way, I found a nice place and sat down. While I was looking for instructions, a screen message informed me that I could receive an informational notecard by clicking on the podium, which I did. I read the notecard which helped me understand the game. First I sat and observed for a few moments. I was awed at the skill of the builders. My building skill paled in comparison. And once I realized that I was not going to be publically embarrassed by being asked to build a word, I found I was more able to participate and enjoy the experience. I was amazed at the creativity of the builders in providing object clues and decided to guess some answers myself.
The pedagologial applications for this activity are overwhealming. The obvious applications would be to enhance one's Second Life building skills. But in an academic vein, this could be used to support many topic areas, such as problem solving, creativity, thinking styles, and at an even more elementary level, spelling.
I was impressed by the design of the game. The stage was setup so that it was easy for all to view the items being built making it easier to participate visually. Of course, one can always use advanced camera controls, and with many of the participants being builders, I am sure they did. The gaming logistics were well integrated. There was a clock to let you know how much time was left to guess, which also increases the stress levels (increasing the level of completition and excitement) on both the part of the builders and the participants. The method for the moderator providing the word to be guessed via private IM was a good use of that feature. It appeared that engagement of the moderator, participants, and builders was very good. I was so impressed by this experinece that I bought the full version of the Spelling Assistant for Primtionary. I noticed that there was about 6,000 prims avaliable for the land, and you would probably need significant prim capabilty to host an activity like this.
It has been interesting to participate to the event even if I acted as a lurker rather than a player, the atmosphere was very funny and I perceived a strong feeling of “cohesion” among the participants, it’s true that behind the game there’s a real community.
As a non native English speaker I experienced the event as very challenging and I must confess that I was terrified by the idea to guess the word (maybe by chance) and be the next builder!
I believe that in such games, similarly as in social networks in general, to be comfortable and take the best from any activity you have to feel part of the community sharing its rules, communication habits, and feel that you can reach the goal (in that case having fun!) working (playing) together.
I really enjoyed the experience, it was a fruitful opportunity to reflect and I gathered a variety of inputs about a possible use of that game in my learning/teaching context.
Attending my first Primtionary event felt like stepping in a triathlon where everyone was already starting the second event and I was just beginning the first course. To some point, you feel that pressure to catch up and keep up with everyone. It was overwhelming to just jump into an event where everyone was mostly in sync and familiar with the process and judging from the level (and type) of conversations, most people know each other or at least have a comfortable relationship with one another.
I participated in the guessing process and although my answers were far from correct, I was nervous that I might actually get one right and then had to go on the stage and build something, which then I would compare to being in the early stages of training for the triathlon. I was impressed with the vocabulary and list of words used in the Primtionary event. Like Laura, with English being a 2nd/3rd language, I couldn't make the connection between some of the builds and the words themselves even after it was explained :(. Overall, among many things, the Primtionary event not only improves building skills, but also builds your vocabulary.
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